Dilemma, by Muyi Xiao
This is the story of Siyao, aged 6, and Mengmeng of 4, a history that is often repeated in China, especially in rural areas, where child trafficking, whether through kidnapping or by parents who sells them, takes on a much larger dimension than that of the more urban areas of the country.
The sale of minors in China continues to be a reality, which, although countered and denounced, feeds an intricate chain of connections which involves several institutions and criminal networks and is based on complex cultural traditions, slow police response and poverty. It is in the rural communities and with fewer resources of China that a greater number of these cases occur, and in many of them, the track of the minors or their parents is completely lost. Children, abducted or sold with the consent of their parents, are then sent to trafficking networks, and then they can be sold to families who want a daughter, other families who want a bride for their son, or to orphanages that forge the documentation so that these children are indicated as abandoned and as such, can be referred to the adoption system, more or less legal, not only in China but also in many western countries. Some of these children are also traded as forced laborers, often doing sexual (predominantly female child) or criminal works.
The story of Siyao and Mengmeng, and which Muyi Xiao portrays in a moving way, is the harsh reality of a couple completely cornered by financial difficulties and by disease, and that in facing the ever closer hypothesis of not being able to respond to most basic needs, may consider as solution the sale of one of their daughters, so that everyone can again have access to food and that their other daughter can go back to school.
This concrete situation was subject of public attention after the work of Muyi was published in China, and a fund-raising was done to help this family. While money may not have been channeled to this situation most effectively by the parents of the children, it has been somehow a way to achieve a balance for the fragile family situation, putting them at least for a period of time away from debt and despair.
Siyao and Mengmeng continue with their parents in a daily struggle to respond to constant needs, but in a deeply unstable situation that can change at any time leading once and again to consider every hypothesis, in a last effort to ensure survival.